Floods, high winds and fires destroy their fair share of structures, but most homeowners are surprised to learn that termites devastate more wood homes than do any of these disasters. These wood-eating insects cost Americans billions of dollars a year, particularly in sites not protected by regular inspections. Is your home susceptible?
Look For Signs
Start by learning to recognize the signs that termites may have taken up residence in your house or business. Don’t assume you’ll see the culprits; they favor dark, moist areas on the undersides of wood materials. Test wood by giving it a sound tap. If it seems hollow, termites may already be at work inside. Other signs include the telltale mud tubes termites construct to use as moisture sources while they scope an area for new food stores. Termite droppings are less reliable indicators; these are usually similar in color to wood, and they can be difficult to spot with an untrained eye.
Don’t ignore termite swarms. These throngs of winged insects might be flying, but that doesn’t mean they’re flying away. Termites usually swarm in spring or summer, and they’re on a quest to find fresh digs for their new nymphs. If you spot a swarm or notice an abundance of the detached wings often left behind by a swarm, take proactive measures to ensure that your building doesn’t become a buffet.
These signs warrant a call to an expert, but foresight is always the most effective weapon for protecting your structure from the costly and stressful consequences of termites. Routine inspections offer the peace of mind of knowing that your risk factors are being monitored by specialists. If you believe termites may already be present, don’t take matters into your own hands: Get professional help now.